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Total Eclipse of the Jobs

Total Eclipse of the Jobs

by Nick Beleiciks

July 26, 2017

A solar eclipse. The cosmic ballet goes on. – Leonard Nimoy

The sign at the coffee stand next door says “We will be closed Monday Aug. 21st for the Solar Eclipse! See you Tuesday the 22nd.” Who could blame them? Work will be the furthest thing on many people’s minds when the earth, moon, and sun align for two minutes over Oregon skies. A total solar eclipse is considered by many to be a once-in-a-lifetime event that shouldn’t be missed. But there will be plenty of work to do.

From Lincoln City to Ontario, the solar eclipse will cast a shadow over one out of five jobs in Oregon. About 29,500 business establishments and 355,500 jobs are within the 60-mile path of totality.

Jobs and businesses beyond the total darkness will also be affected by the eclipse. The state is planning for an influx of about one million visitors for the occasion. Oregonians who are trying to get to work that day may face traffic snarls of snowmageddon proportions. Fortunately, astronomers know well ahead of time when a solar eclipse will occur, which gives the rest of us time to prepare.

How Oregon Employers Can Prepare

And everything under the sun is in tune. But the sun is eclipsed by the moon. – Pink Floyd

Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management website for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse offers these tips to help businesses prepare for the eclipse:

  • Prepare for a big jump in customers. Grocery stores, gas stations, hotels, restaurants, transportation services, coffee shops, retail stores, urgent care clinics and many other establishments will experience a jump in business. We encourage them to order goods and schedule staff accordingly. 
  • Be aware that many visitors will be camping in both authorized and unauthorized locations; expect customers who may be primarily interested in using rest rooms. 
  • Encourage employees to have a full tank of gas prior to the time visitors begin to arrive in the area. Lines for fuel may occur and you’ll want staff to be able to get to work.
  • Be prepared for more cash transactions and potential challenges with credit/debit card transactions taking longer than usual because of increased volumes. Consider having tills set up to accommodate more cash transactions.
  • Be prepared for cell service overloads; there may be service disruptions due to the increase in visitors using networks. Visitors may have urgent requests to use your business telephone line if they are having trouble with cell service. Decide how you want to handle these requests and make sure employees know what to do.
  • Talk to suppliers. Some suppliers may be considering delivery schedule changes due to the event(s). Suppliers may also be looking at how the increased traffic on rural roads may impact delivery times.